As far as I'm concerned, the hottest new feature you'll find in Adobe Captivate 8 is the ability to create responsive eLearning. As I taught you a few weeks ago, by choosing File > New > Responsive Project, you can basically create and work on multiple screen sizes (called break points) in one project. When you publish the responsive project, the learner will automatically be served the break point appropriate for the device they're using.
Take the Text Caption shown below for example. The arrow in the upper left of the caption is known as a callout.
You can control a few attributes of the callout (you can use the Properties Inspector to select from a list of pre-determined positions and you can elect not to show the callout). But if you want to fully adjust the callout (perhaps move it a bit to the left or right, or make the callout a bit longer), you're out of luck.
Many Captivate developers, tired of the limitations of standard Text Captions, have forsaken Text Captions altogether for Smart Shapes. In the image below, I'm using a Rectangle Smart Shape. The shape looks much like a Standard Text Caption. I can control its appearance via Object Styles. However, check out how I am able to drag the shape's callout by dragging the yellow square. You can't do that with a Text Caption.
Because Text Captions are really bitmap images, I'm not able to fully control how the captions look unless I edit the bitmaps using an image editing program. With Smart Shapes, you can control just about every aspect of the way the shape looks by combining options found on the Properties Inspector with Object Styles.
While there is much to love about Smart Shapes, a perceived downside to Smart Shapes is that you can't use them to automatically get captions when recording a Software Simulation. You'll be happy to learn that you can, in fact, use Smart Shapes instead of Text Captions during the recording process.
Display Captivate's Preferences (Windows users, choose Edit > Preferences; Mac users, choose Adobe Captivate > Preferences). Choose a recording mode and, from the Captions area, select Use Smart Shapes instead of Captions.
Last week I told you about the great enhancements you'll see in Adobe Captivate 8 when it comes to image buttons. This week, I'm going to show you a few more improvements that I think you'll love.
Flipped classrooms are gaining in popularity. If you've never heard of the flipped classroom, here's a definition courtesy of the Flipped Learning Network:
"The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions."
From the Flipped Learning White Paper:
"A teacher stands at the front of the classroom, delivering a lecture on the Civil War and writing on a white board. Students are hunched over desks arranged in rows, quietly taking notes. At the end of the hour, they copy down the night's homework assignment, which consists of reading from a thick textbook and answering questions at the end of the chapter. This dramatic, defining period in our nation's history, which left questions unanswered that are as relevant today as they were then, has been reduced to a dry, familiar exercise. The teacher is acutely aware that many students do not understand the day's lessons, but he/she does not have the time to meet with them to help during the 50-minute class period. The next day the teacher will collect the homework and briefly review the previous night's reading assignment. But if students have additional questions there won't be time to linger; the class cannot fall behind schedule. There is a lot of material to cover before the test at the end of the unit.
"Although it conflicts with decades of research into effective practices, this model of instruction remains all too common in American K-12 and post secondary classrooms. However, more and more educators now recognize that the learning needs of students, rather than the curriculum pacing guide, should drive their instruction. Educators are developing ways to personalize learning, using technologies such as video, digital simulations, and computer games. However, unless the traditional teaching model is altered, technologies such as these will have limited effects. One alternative model gaining attention and advocates is called Flipped Learning. In this model, some lessons are delivered outside of the group learning space using video or other modes of delivery. Class time, then, is available for students to engage in hands-on learning, collaborate with their peers, and evaluate their progress, and for teachers to provide one-on-one assistance, guidance, and inspiration."
How hot is flipped learning? Check out these factoids:
Adobe last week announced Adobe Captivate 8, a significant upgrade to one of the top eLearning development tools in the world.
Over the past few years I've repeatedly heard a couple of complaints about Captivate. First, it was perceived as difficult to use. There were so many panels, pods, and toolbars it didn't take too much effort for the Captivate workspace to get cluttered. Sure it was possible to create a custom workspace, but that didn't seem to matter. The fact that a panel could be accidentally moved from one part of the screen to another was causing all kinds of drama.
Another major complaint was Captivate's lack of support for mobile users. You could publish a Captivate lesson as HTML5, but the way a lesson looked when viewed on different screen sizes wasn't something a developer could control.
Captivate users will be happy to learn that both major pain points have been addressed with Captivate 8. Shown below is the Welcome screen you will see when you first start Captivate 8. There are two tabs, Recent and New. After selecting New, you'll find the usual suspects including Software Simulation, Video Demo, and From PowerPoint. You'll also see a brand new... and very awesome... option for creating Responsive Projects (something I'll cover in a future post).
If you're a veteran Captivate user, you'll notice right away that in addition to the Welcome screen getting a nice redesign, there is no longer a check box in the lower left to permanently hide the Welcome screen. This may not seem like a big deal, but I can't tell you how many times I've heard from people using Captivate 7 and older who tell me that the Welcome screen is missing. It turns out that they've accidentally hidden the Welcome screen. And while it's easy to bring it back, I'm delighted to see that since it cannot be hidden that issue is gone.
Last year the sale of smartphones exceeded the sale of traditional phones; the sale of tablets exceeded those of desktop computers. This trend has led to a need for eLearning developers to create courses that can be accessed from both mobile and desktop devices.
The size of the screen that learners use to access eLearning lessons can vary widely. Consider the size of a typical mobile phone compared to the various shapes and sizes of tablets such as the iPad, Microsoft Surface, and Amazon Kindle Fire. You could develop several Captivate projects that contain the same content, but are sized to work on specific devices; however, the problem is that you’d have to edit and update several projects! Who wants to do that? Additionally, who could possibly consider every screen size for every device? Even if you could build lessons for every screen size known today… what about the screen sizes for devices that have yet to be invented?
As an alternative to managing multiple Captivate projects, with Adobe Captivate 8, you can now create a single, responsive project that provides optimal viewing, and an effective learning experience, across a wide range of devices and screen sizes.
Responsive design is an approach to development that allows for flexible layouts and flexible images and assets. While the word responsive was traditionally used for building web pages, now with Adobe Captivate 8, responsive design can be used to develop online courses that detect the learner’s screen size and orientation, and automatically change what the learner sees.
This class covers how Adobe Captivate 8 uses responsive design features. You’ll learn how to navigate the new Captivate interface, how to create responsive projects from scratch, and how to incorporate responsive training demos, simulations, and question slides into your eLearning courses. Additionally, you’ll learn about multi-device previewing and publishing methods.
Who Should Attend This Course?
When it comes to eLearning, I develop content for many government and education organizations where Section 508 Compliance is required. Section 508, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, requires all Federal agencies to make electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
If you want to make your eLearning courses accessible for everyone, it's a good idea to think about people who are hearing, visually, and dexterity (motor skills) impaired. Additionally, it's important to consider the elderly population and people who speak English as a second language.
Assistive devices provide a way for people with disabilities to communicate and train using technology. People who are visually impaired or blind need devices such as:
People with hearing impairments need visual representation of auditory information such as:
People who have mobility impairments may need:
Although creating accessible eLearning can feel like an additional task, the goal is to enhance your eLearning courses by ensuring that all learners can master the instructional material and meet the learning objectives. When learning is accessible to all types of learners, you are not only complying with regulations, but you are reaching a larger audience, upholding social responsibility, and increasing your effectiveness as an eLearning developer and instructor.
Note: This is the first in a series of articles covering accessible eLearning from Anita. Stay tuned for more! And if you'd like to take a 3-hour deep-dive into the best practices for creating accessible eLearning, check out Anita's live, online course.
¡Hola! Let's journey down to South America and explore some common cultural facts about Ecuadorians and their expectations when it comes to training and development.
Test Your Knowledge of Ecuadorian Culture:
Tips for Training & Development in Ecuador1
If you'd like to see a demonstration on adding a preloader to a Captivate project, check out the video I created on IconLogic's YouTube channel.